Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Reply to John Cormac

I don't have time to put together the long replies I tend to do, so I'm taking this route: I will post the question/statement made by John Cormac in his last comment in this post and give my reply, piecemeal to this post. Thus, this post, unlike other posts, will grow over time as I add my replies to it.

"Handicapped by poor draft position" is a laughable excuse for a guy who supposedly uses metrics to look at these issues. It's a dog-ate-my-homework excuse which is belied by actual events. Sabean hasn't been hamstrung by anything - apart from when they intentionally forfeited their high picks (see the Michael Tucker incident - the analysts still laugh about that one) the Giants have deliberately chosen to use the high draft picks they have for pitching, pitching, and more pitching. This is an admitted fact - when the club was running well Sabean and Colletti would brag about it. Now that the free agent well for field players has run dry, not so much.

People seem to think that I'm this quant guy, and I am to a large extent, but I am also a touchy-feely guy as well, and can travel between the two worlds comfortably. I know enough to blend the two together (which is why they pay me the, um, bucks :^). I also know that if I go too far with the quant stuff, I'm going to lose people, so I've been doing my best to keep things as digestible as I can make them.

Also, I've written a lot over the past 6 years on the Giants, so I realize you probably haven't read all of it, but like you noted to me when I accused you of something (which I showed I was correct in interpreting what you wrote), I can't say I appreciate your labeling of my position as "laughable". What is laughable is you attacked my position without asking for further explaination. I've obviously put a lot of effort into my blog, perhaps I might have something cogent to say.

The analysts laugh because they don't understand. They don't understand that the distribution (which is a very overlooked analytical tool) is horribly skewed towards failure, they only look at the average, and even then they don't look at the average in context with what type of player that represents. When the odds of success in finding anything is low (about 10% for any successful playoff contending team), bypassing it for more immediate needs is a legitimate option.

Given how Tucker paid off for us in 2004 plus we still have Kelvin Pichardo doing well in the system for us, vs. KC's Campbell, who flamed out already (pick they got from us) and Texas's Hurley, who had a big setback to his prospect status in 2008 (some think he was the prototypical pitcher Sabean/Tidrow would like), it looks like we came out way ahead with this move.

One of my main points is that with the odds of finding any good player, whether position or pitching, is very low anyhow, even if you have a Top 5 pick overall (still much under 50%, about 40-45%), and thus by concentrating on pitching, you speed up the rebuild, make it more likely that it will be successful, and, as I've been reporting on lately, acquire the key ingredients for a successful playoff team, which is pitching, pitching and more pitching (plus defense).

And I haven't even gone into depth on that yet, been meaning to write on it, but the gist is that with a two-prong approach to the draft - pitching via a volume approach and defense which is easy to obtain - you cheaply acquire the main ingredients you need to be a successful playoff team, then supplement with whatever available premium hitters you can get on the free agent market to get the offense you need. As I noted in my "Hey Neukom" series, when you have a plus pitching staff, the offense you need to win is exponentially less because of the relationship between runs scored and runs allowed in the Pythagorean formula that Bill James developed.

The key thing to remember when you complain about the lack of position players (and really, you are talking here about good offensive position players) is that they are not crucial ingredients of a successful playoff team. The Hardball Times had an article on that a few years ago and Baseball Prospectus, after that, took another route to analyzing that and discovered the same thing: offense did not factor into why teams won, while pitching, specifically a high-strikeout pitching staff and a very effective closer, and defense did.

3 comments:

  1. I look forward to reading these responses as they evolve. Hope folks don't mind me chipping in. This reply is for Part I.

    On Tucker, SF could have had its cake and eaten it too, that is, it could have had Pichardo too via the trade years later had SF waited a few days and kept SF's draft pick and then signed Tucker. One has nothing to do with the other. The issue was simply forfeiting the pick for nothing in return. Which is what occurred.

    And if you're assuming that SF's pick would have been the same as KC's, well, you've made my point for me.

    And your last paragraph, well put, baseball prospectus calls their version their secret sauce I think. Strikeout pitching, closer, defense are their 3 key factors.

    Based on their 2008 #s, Giants actually did better than the Brew Crew, the Phillies, and the Dodgers. Hmmmm. How could this be?

    Maybe because the great Nate Silver himself seems to have only discussed this metric in terms of its value in sorting out similarly situated playoff teams. That is, take the pool of 8 clubs which have gotten to the point of making the playoffs and use this tool. As 2008 demonstrates (as in 2006), it's certainly not infallible.

    However, to say that emphasizing this metric in the abstract when deciding whether to make offensive improvements on a club which was next to last in MLB in runs scored in 2008? I question that but look forward to future posts.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hater of the East Coast BiasThursday, January 08, 2009 8:52:00 AM

    OGC-

    I like your post, I check it often, but lately I've been frequently other sights more often because you seem to be arrogant and defensive when anyone questions you. Other sights don't take differing points personally and continue on with blogging. I think you need to stop trying to embarrass John and continue blogging. It is ok to answer his question or to explain why you think different. But lately your blog has been more about you than it has been about the Giants. I hope you can get back on track because I love your blog when it is focused on the Giants.

    ReplyDelete
  3. 'Tain't the pitching and development about which we complain, it's the apparent inability to get useful position players when they do pick them and the often very unfortunate FA signings.

    ReplyDelete

Labels

1984 Draft (1) 2007 Draft (15) 2007 Giants (52) 2008 Draft (22) 2008 Giants (53) 2008 season (6) 2009 Draft (18) 2009 Giants (87) 2009 season (24) 2010 Decade (12) 2010 Draft (11) 2010 Giants (137) 2010 NL ROY award (1) 2010 season (19) 2010's (3) 2011 Draft (9) 2011 Giants (84) 2011 season (8) 2012 Draft (11) 2012 Giants (93) 2012 season (11) 2013 Draft (3) 2013 Giants (39) 2013 season (5) 2014 (1) 2014 draft (5) 2014 Giants (79) 2014 season (16) 2015 Draft (4) 2015 Giants (50) 2015 season (10) 2016 Draft (1) 2016 Giants (45) 2016 season (6) 2017 Draft (3) 2017 Giants (26) 2018 Draft (3) 2018 Giants (9) 2018 Season (3) 25 man roster (10) 25th man fallacy (1) 3B (1) 40 Man Roster (9) 49ers (1) 6-man rotation (3) 89 Quake (1) 89 World Series (1) A-Ball (1) A-Gon (1) A-Rod (3) A's (6) AA-Ball (1) Aaron Rowand (25) accomplishments (1) ace pitcher (1) Adalberto Mejia (6) Adam Duvall (5) AFL (4) Albert Suarez (5) Alex Hinshaw (3) Alex Pavlovic (1) All-Star Game (1) almost perfect game (1) Alonzo Powell (1) Amphetamine (2) analysis (20) Andre Torres (14) Andres Torres (2) Andrew Suarez (2) Andrew Susac (11) Andy Baggerly (2) Andy Sisco (1) Angel Joseph (1) Angel Pagan (17) Angel Villalona (30) Anniversary (1) appendicitis (1) Aramis Garcia (2) Arbitration (18) Armando Benitez (5) Armando Gallaraga (1) art of failure (1) Asia-Pacific signing (1) assessment (1) Astros (2) At the Rate They Are Going (1) ATT Park (1) Aubrey Huff (20) Austin Slater (2) Award (4) BABIP (3) Bam Bam Meulens (1) Barry Bonds (30) Barry Zito (77) baseball (1) Baseball America (2) Baseball Prospectus (3) Baseball Prospectus Bias Against Giants (3) baseball strategy (6) Baseball Study (17) baserunning (2) batting peripherals (1) batting stance analysis (1) batting title champion (1) Beat LA (9) bench players (4) Bengie Molina (14) Benjamin Snyder (1) Bert Blyleven (1) best manager (1) best practices (2) Beyond the Box Score (1) Bias Against Giants (1) Big 6 (9) Bill Hall (1) Bill James (1) Bill James Handbook (2) Bill Mueller (1) Bill Neukom (21) Billy Beane (3) Blog Philosophy (2) Bob Howry (2) Bob Mariano (1) Bobby Evans (3) Boston Red Sox (1) Brad Hennessey (5) Brad Penny (2) Brandon Bednar (1) Brandon Belt (47) Brandon Crawford (24) Brandon Hicks (1) Braves (5) breakout (2) Brett Bochy (4) Brett Pill (9) Brian Anderson (1) Brian Bocock (2) Brian Cooper (1) Brian Horwitz (3) Brian Ragira (2) Brian Sabean (45) Brian Wilson (14) Bridegrooms (6) Bruce Bochy (31) Bucky Showalter (1) bulllpen (4) Bullpen (31) Business Plan (13) Buster Posey (99) Byran Reynolds (1) Byung-Hyun Kim (1) Cained (4) call-ups (3) Candlestick Park (1) Cards (13) Career Prospects (4) Carl Hubbell (1) Carlos Beltran (4) Carlos Gomez (1) Carney Lansford (2) Carter Jurica (1) Casey McGeHee (3) catcher injury (5) catching (2) CBT penalty (1) CC Sabathia (1) censorship (2) CEO (2) Chad Gaudin (5) Charles Culberson (5) Charlie Culberson (3) Chase Johnson (3) Chillax (1) Chris Brown (1) Chris Gloor (1) Chris Heston (18) Chris Lincecum (1) Chris Marrero (1) Chris O'Leary (1) Chris Ray (4) Chris Shaw (2) Chris Stewart (4) Chris Stratton (14) Christian Arroyo (6) Christmas (1) Christopher Dominguez (4) Christy Mathewson (1) Chuckie Jones (2) Clay Hensley (3) Clayton Blackburn (10) Clayton Tanner (3) Closer (9) closer by committee (3) Coaches (4) coaching changes (1) Cody Hall (2) Cody Ross (8) Col (1) Comeback Award (1) Commissioner (1) comparison (1) competitive advantage (1) Competitive Balance Tax (2) competitiveness (1) Connor Nurse (1) Conor Gillaspie (25) contender (1) contract extension (3) contract negotiations (2) contract signing (6) core competency (1) Cory Gearrin (3) Cory Guerrin (1) Cory Hart (1) Craig Whitaker (2) Curt Young (1) cuts (1) Cy Young Award (5) D-backs (15) D-gers (36) D-Rocks (3) D-Rox (17) D.J. Snelten (1) Dallas McPherson (1) Dan Ortmeier (11) Dan Otero (2) Dan Runzler (6) Dan Slania (3) Dan Uggla (1) Daniel Carbonell (1) Daniel Slania (2) Darren Ford (1) Dave Righetti (1) Dave Roberts (11) David Aardsma (1) David Bell (1) David Huff (2) David Loewenstein (1) Decade of the Giants (11) decline (1) Defense (8) Deferred Money (1) deleted comment (1) Denard Span (2) depth (1) Derek Law (8) Detroit Tigers (1) DFA (3) DH (2) Dick Tidrow (2) dictionary (1) Dirty (1) DL (2) dodgers (13) Donald Snelten (1) Draft (7) Draft Analysis (15) Draft Bonus (7) draft list (2) draft philosophy (1) draft signing (3) Draft Strategy (11) Draft Study (2) Draft Success (2) drafting (2) Dres (16) DRS (1) Dynasty (1) Edgar Renteria (13) Eduardo Nunez (4) Edwin Escobar (5) Ehire Adrianza (26) Eli Whiteside (4) Elimination game (1) EME (2) Emmanuel Burriss (18) epic season (6) Eric Byrnes (1) Eric Surkamp (6) Erik Cordier (1) Eugenio Velez (12) evaluation (2) extension (7) fan outrage (1) fan rants (1) fanfest (1) FanGraphs (2) felony conviction (1) Fielding (4) Fielding Stats (4) finger injury (3) first post-season press conference (3) Francisco Peguero (4) Fred Lewis (3) Freddie Lewis (17) Freddie Sanchez (4) Freddy Sanchez (7) Free Agency (7) Free agent possibilities (24) Free agent signing (14) Free agent signings (21) front office (2) Game Score (3) gamer-tude (1) Gary Brown (26) Geno Espinelli (1) George Kontos (10) Ghosts of Giants Drafts (1) Giants (8) Giants Announcer (1) Giants blogs (3) Giants Chat (4) Giants Defense (2) Giants Draft (11) Giants Drafts (2) Giants Farm System (32) Giants Franchise record (2) Giants Future (64) Giants GM (5) Giants Greats (3) Giants hitting manual (1) Giants No-Hitter (5) Giants Offense (28) Giants Offseason (21) Giants Pitching (3) Giants Strategy (36) GiDar (1) Gino Espinelli (1) glossary (1) Gold Glove Award (1) good will (1) Gorkys Hernandez (1) Graphical Player (1) Gregor Blanco (15) Gregor Moscoso (1) Guillermo Moscoso (2) Guillermo Mota (2) Guillermo Quiroz (1) Gustavo Cabrera (4) Hall of Fame (9) Hall of Shame (4) Hank Aaron (5) Happy Holidays (2) Hate mail (1) heart-warming (1) Heath Hembree (8) Heath Quinn (1) Hector Correa (1) Hector Sanchez (11) Heliot Ramos (2) Henry Sosa (8) HGH (1) Hidden Game (1) high expectations (1) high school focus in draft (1) high velocity hitters (1) high velocity pitchers (1) Hitter's League (1) Hitting (17) Hitting Coach (1) hitting mechanics (3) hitting pitchers (2) hitting streak (1) Hitting; (1) Home Run Career Record (7) Home Run Hitting Contest (1) Hunter Pence (23) Hunter Stickland (1) Hunter Strickland (5) Ian Gardeck (1) Idea (4) IFA (1) improvement (2) Indictment (1) injury (3) instant replay (2) instructor (1) Interesting Question (1) International Free Agent Pursuits (5) International Signings (5) interview (4) Investment (1) Ivan Ochoa (2) J2 (1) Jack Taschner (4) Jackson Williams (3) Jacob Dunnington (1) Jacob Gonzalez (2) Jacob McCasland (1) Jae-gyun Hwang (1) Jake Dunning (2) Jake Peavy (39) Jake Smith (1) Jalen Miller (1) Japanese Starters (1) Jarrett Parker (8) Jason Heyward (1) Jason Maxwell (2) Jason Stoffel (1) Javier Lopez (5) JC Gutierrez (3) Jean Machi (6) Jeff Kent (1) Jeff Samardzija (19) Jeff Suppan (1) Jeremy Affeldt (12) Jeremy Shelley (2) Jerome Williams (1) Jesse English (2) Jesse Foppert (1) Jesus Guzman (4) Jimmy Rollins (1) Joaquin Arias (14) Joe Panik (16) Joe Torre (1) Joey Martinez (2) Johan Santana (1) John Barr (1) John Bowker (22) John Thorn (1) Johneshwy Fargas (2) Johnny Bench (1) Johnny Cueto (21) Johnny Monell (1) Johnny Rucker (1) Jonah Arenado (1) Jonathan Mayo (1) Jonathan Sanchez (49) Jordan Johnson (1) Jose Canseco (1) Jose Casilla (1) Jose Guillen (3) Jose Mijares (3) Jose Uribe (2) Josh Osich (5) JT Snow (1) Juan Perez (6) Juan Uribe (9) Juggling Monkey (1) Julian Fernandez (1) Julio Urias (1) jury (1) Just Say No (1) Kelby Tomlinson (4) Kendry Flores (2) Keury Mella (2) Kevin Correia (2) Kevin Frandsen (22) Kevin Pucetas (10) KNBR (1) Kung Fu Panda (30) Kyle Crick (15) Larry Baer (2) Larry Ellison (1) Lead-off (2) leadoff (1) left-handed (1) Lew Wolff (1) LHP (1) Lineup (17) lineup construction (3) Lineup position (1) links (1) Lon Simmons (1) long relief (1) Long-Term Contract (22) long-term planning (3) losing streak (1) Lucius Fox (3) luck (2) Luis Angel Mateo (2) lunatic fringe (1) Mac Marshall (1) Mac Williamson (8) Madison Bumgarner (172) Mailbox (1) Malcolm Gladwell (1) management change (3) management issues (5) managerial value (4) Manny (1) Marc Kroon (2) Marco Scutaro (12) Mark DeRosa (8) Mark Gardner (1) Mark Melancon (1) Marlon Byrd (1) Martin Agosta (7) Marvin Miller (1) Masahiro Tanaka (1) Mason McVay (1) Matsuzaka (1) Matt Cain (160) Matt Downs (2) Matt Duffy (8) Matt Graham (1) Matt Holliday (1) Matt Krook (1) Matt Moore (14) Matt Morris (2) Mechanics (4) Media (16) Media Bias (17) Media Trade Idea (3) Medical (1) Mediocy (10) Mediots (5) Melk-Gone (1) Melky Cabrera (14) memories (1) mental (1) Merkin Valdez (8) Message in a Bottle (1) methodology (2) MI (1) Michael Main (1) Michael Trout (1) middle infield (1) Miguel Cabrera (2) Miguel Gomez (1) Miguel Tejada (5) Mike Fontenot (3) Mike Ivie (1) Mike Kickham (9) Mike Leake (11) Mike Matheny (1) Mike Morse (10) milestone (1) minor league (1) minor league contract (3) minors (11) mismanagement (1) misnomer (1) mistakes (2) MLB (2) MLB stupidity (2) MLB Success (7) MLB Trade Rumors (1) MLBAM (1) MLBTR (1) MLE (1) Mock Draft analysis (7) MVP (2) Natanael Javier (1) Nate Schierholtz (45) Nathanael Javier (1) Nationals (1) Naysayers (1) Negotiations (1) Neil Ramirez (1) Next Gen (1) Nick Hundley (1) Nick Noonan (27) Nick Pereira (1) Nick Vander Tuig (2) NL Champions (2) NL West (23) NL West Division Title (17) NL West Future (1) NLCS (22) NLCS MVP (2) NLDS (8) Noah Lowry (14) non-roster invitees (1) non-tenders (2) Nori Aoki (4) NPB (1) Oakland A's (4) OBP (1) oddities (1) Offense (3) offensive era (1) Omar Vizquel (3) one-run games (3) Opening Day (5) opening day pitcher (3) opening day roster (9) Optimism (1) Osiris Matos (2) Outfield (2) overturned (1) Ownership (7) Pablo Sandoval (95) Padres (1) Panda (6) Pandoval (1) passing (1) Pat Burrell (15) Pat Misch (5) Payroll (11) Pedro Feliz (12) PEDS (10) Perfect Game (2) perjury trial (1) Personal Reminiscence (2) Pessimism (1) Pete Palmer (1) Pete Rose (3) Peter Magowan (2) Phil Bickford (3) Phillies (7) philosophy (1) Phoenix Theory of Rebuilding (1) Pitch Count (3) pitch value (1) Pitcher hitting 8th (1) Pitchers League (1) Pitching (20) Pitching Rotation (77) pitching staff (5) plate discipline (1) platoon players (1) Play Ball (1) player budget (2) player development (2) playoff (2) playoff hopes (35) playoff roster (2) playoff rotation (5) Playoff Success (21) Playoffs (41) postmortem (2) PQS (97) press conference (2) pressure (2) priorities (1) Projected Record (6) projection (2) projections (2) promotion (2) prospect (3) prospect analysis (4) prospect handling (1) Prospect of Note (3) prospect study (1) Prospects (44) quality starts (1) questions (1) radio great (1) Rafael Rodriquez (8) Rajai Davis (2) Ralph Barbieri (1) Ramon Ramirez (3) Randy Johnson (10) Randy Messenger (2) Randy Winn (14) Rangers (5) Ranking (4) rant (1) raspberry (1) Ray Durham (5) re-sign (2) Rebuilding (4) Rebuilding Myths series (1) rebuttal (1) Reds (5) reliever (1) Relocation Concession (2) Research (2) resource scarcity (1) rest for starters (1) Retired (3) Retirement (2) return (1) Reyes Moronta (1) RHP (1) Rich Aurilia (7) Rick Peterson (1) Rickie Weeks (1) Ricky Oropesa (3) right-handed (1) risk mitigation (2) risk profile (1) Rockies (1) Rod Beck (1) Roger Kieschnick (13) Roger Metzger (1) Ron Shandler (2) Ron Wotus (1) Ronnie Jebavy (1) Rookie of the Year (1) Roster (4) rosterbation (2) ROY (2) Royals (3) Rule 5 (2) Rule 5 Draft Pick (4) rumors (9) run production (1) runs support (1) Russ Ortiz (11) Ryan Garko (2) Ryan Klesko (4) Ryan Rohlinger (2) Ryan Theriot (3) Ryan Vogelsong (93) Ryder Jones (2) Sabean Naysayers (6) Sabermetric Thoughts (6) sabermetrics (4) SABR (1) Salary speculation (3) SALLY (1) Sam Dyson (1) San Jose Giants (1) San Jose Relocation (3) Sandy Rosario (1) Santiago Casilla (9) Scott McClain (2) Scott Shuman (1) Scouting (1) secret sauce (1) Sergio Romo (17) Seth Corry (2) SF Giants (2) Shilo McCall (1) Shohei Ohtani (1) Shohei Otani (2) Shooter (1) shutouts (1) Signature Song (1) signing (13) Silly-Ball (3) South Atlantic League (1) South Bay Rights (1) SP usage (1) splits (2) Spring Training (16) standings (1) starting lineup (18) starting pitching (79) Statcorner (1) statistics (2) STATS (1) Steamer (1) Steroids (6) Steve Edlefsen (4) Steve Johnson (3) Steve Okert (7) Steven Duggar (1) strikeout rate (1) Sue Burns (1) sunk costs (1) superstition (1) Tax (1) team culture (1) Team of the 2010's (1) Team of the Decade (3) Team Speed (1) Team Support (1) Thank You (1) The Evil Ones (tm) (1) The Giants Way (1) The Hardball Times (1) The Hey Series (15) Thomas Joseph (3) Thomas Neal (9) Tigers (4) Tim Alderson (17) Tim Hudson (39) Tim Lincecum (194) Todd Linden (3) Todd Wellemeyer (6) Tommy Joseph (3) Top Draft Position (3) top prospect list (4) Trade (11) Trade Analysis (17) Trade Idea (9) Trade PTBNL (2) Trade Rumors (30) trading (1) training staff (2) Training Tool (1) Travis Blackley (1) Travis Ishikawa (47) Trevor Brown (4) tribute (1) turning point (1) Ty Blach (13) Tyler Beede (7) Tyler Horan (1) Tyler Rogers (1) Tyler Walker (2) umpire mistake (3) Umpires (3) USA Today (1) utility (1) Voros McCracken (1) Waldis Joaquin (5) walks (1) Wall of Fame (1) WAR (1) Warrior Spirit (1) Wendell Fairley (10) What-If Scenario (3) wild card (1) wild card race (1) Will Clark (1) Will Smith (4) Willie Mac Award (1) Willie Mays (1) winning on the road (1) Winter League (1) winter meetings (2) World Series (26) World Series Champions (12) WS Ring Bling (1) xBABIP (1) Yusmeiro Petit (40) Zack Wheeler (9) ZiPS (1)